Getaway Compass

10 Best Things to Do in Costa Rica

Arenal La Fortuna

Costa Rica is a breathtaking country with exciting activities you can do to experience the cloud forests, see animals, relax on beaches, and hike to waterfalls. Choose between active adventures such as zip-lining and hiking or take a walk on hanging bridges and then relax in hot springs. After reading this list of the 10 best things to do in Costa Rica you will most likely book that trip to Costa Rica.

1. Zip Line Over a Cloud Forest

Monteverde View

The best thing to do in Costa Rica is to go on a canopy tour over a cloud forest. In Monteverde you can find several zip lining tours to choose from. I recommend the Canopy Tour at Selvatura Adventure Park which has 13 cables that guide you above the cloud forest for a total of 2.2 miles. The longest cable is 1 km! Make sure to book your tour ahead of time as it is possible for the tours to sell out. Another popular canopy tour is at 100% Adventure Park, which has the longest zip line in Costa Rica at 5,220 ft.

2. Relax at Hot Springs in La Fortuna

Tabacon Hot Springs

One of the best things to do in Costa Rica is to relax at the hot springs in La Fortuna near Mount Arenal. There are a variety of options to enjoy the hot springs in La Fortuna including: Tabacón Hot SpringsParadise Hot Springs, Titoku Hot Springs, EcoTermales Hot Springs, Baldi Hot Springs. As a free alternative, you can visit the natural hot springs river located across from Tabacón Hot Springs.

I recommend checking out Tabacón Hot Springs which is one of the nicer resort-style hot springs with several cascading pools offering temperatures ranging from 72 to 105 degrees as you make your way up to the higher pools. The water is true thermal water that is naturally heated by the volcano. If you are planning to visit these hot springs, it may be worth it to stay a night at the hotel since that will cover your hot springs entrance fee. Book your stay at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa in advance to make sure you don’t miss out! 

If you are looking for other hotels with hot springs at a lower price range, check out the following hotels: 

3. See Animals at Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manual Antonio National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Costa Rica. Book a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park for the best experience. A guide is very helpful in spotting animals so you will get to see more. You will be able to use their spotting scope for closer views of moneys, birds, and more.  In Manuel Antonio National Park you can find Capuchin Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, Toucans, Iguanas, Sloths, and more. 

4. Hike in Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest Hike

The most beautiful place to hike in Costa Rica is at Monteverde Cloud Forest. To explore Monteverde Cloud Forest you can either go on your own or book a guided tour on Viator. The are several trail options at Monteverde Cloud Forest that you can follow and have the opportunity to see different birds. I recommend starting with Quebrada Cuecha trail to the waterfall and then looping back with Sendero Tosi. You can then continue a bigger loop by combining multiple trails in the cloud forest.

5. Swim Below Catarata Rio Fortuna

Catarata Rio Fortuna Costa Rica

One of the top things to do in Costa Rica is to visit the 70 meter high Fortuna Waterfall. To get to the waterfall you will walk down about 530 steps. If conditions allow, you have the option to swim in the pool the waterfall drops into or in the Fortuna River, so don’t forget your bathing suit. Take in views of the rainforest and the native plants as you make your way back up the 530 steps. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and water! 

6. Visit Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio

Catarata Río Celeste

One of the best things to do in Costa Rica is to see Catarata Río Celeste at Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio. At this park you will follow a trail through the rainforest to a bright blue waterfall, lagoon, and river. On the hike you may be able to see animals such as toucans, woodpeckers, coatis, and more unique birds. There are about 200 steps to get down to Catarata Río Celeste, the bright blue waterfall that this park is most known for. You cannot swim in this water but you can enjoy the waterfall as you make your way down the stairs and onto the designated platform. You can book an organized tour with transportation from La Fortuna or visit the park on your own if you are planning to rent a car.

7. Hike to an Incredible View of Mount Arenal

Mirador El Silencio La Fortuna

Mirador El Silencio is a nature reserve with beautiful hiking trails through the rainforest. A 3-mile loop takes you to a 1968 lava flow and rewards you with incredible views of Arenal Volcano. There are different paths you can take through the rainforest to get to the viewpoint and back. After paying an entrance fee you will get a detailed map that will show the different paths.

8. Walk on Hanging Bridges in a Rainforest

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridge

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges has a 3.2 km trail where you can take a nice walk through the rainforest and see views of Arenal. You can pay for the entrance fee and explore the park on your own, or you can book a guided tour to see more animals and learn about the animals and plants in this rainforest.

9. Hike in Reserva Bosque Nobuso, Santa Elena

Santa Elena Cloud Forest

If you are visiting Monteverde don’t miss Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena, where you can see unique birds as you walk through the cloud forest. It is significantly less busy here than Monteverde Cloud Forest and there are several trails you can take with varying lengths and difficulties.

10. Go on a Coffee and Chocolate Tour

Don Juan Chocolate Tour

Don Juan Coffee and Chocolate Tour is an interesting tour in Monteverde that walks you through the process of growing and making chocolate and coffee. Make sure to reserve a tour ahead of time! You  will get to taste coffee and chocolate as you learn about the process.

Another unique place to visit a coffee farm is in Salento, Colombia. Checkout our guide to two days in Salento

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Reut and Zack Elopement-5

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